The 20 BEST Fat-Burning Cardio Exercises for 2020! 🔥
2020 is your year!
It's time to get into the best shape of your life, lose that extra weight, and feel your best!
And we are here to get you started!
We have created a complete guide to the 20 BEST cardio exercises! 🔥💪
These exercises are hand picked to deliver the most bang-for-your buck and are guaranteed to:
Elevate your heart-rate
Improve your cardio and overall fitness
Increase your strength
Help you feel your BEST in 2020!
We have included a step-by-step coaching guide on how to perform each movement as well as a beginners guide to each movement if you're just getting started in 2020!
BONUS: We have also included 3 sample cardio workouts to get you rocking at the bottom of this article!
LET'S ROCK 2020!
1| Med Ball Slams
One of our favorite forms of cardio is medicine ball work.
They make any workout fun and challenging, plus offer some great variety!
They work well with all of our members, especially members who come to us with some kind of joint pain.
We like these especially for our members with lower-body and/or low-back issues.
Get some aggression out and get ready to sweat!
Get as tall as possible and reach ball high overhead without leaning back
Slam ball down right in front of feet
Finish slam in low squat position
Catch and repeat as fast as possible
Start with :30 of work followed by :30 of rest for 6-10 rounds.
We are very fortunate here at Dynamic to have some of the most state-of-the-art fitness equipment. One of our favorite pieces of cardio equipment is the Skierg.
If you've ever been cross-country skiing, you know how good of a workout it can be.
Now envision cross-country sprinting!
These get your heart rate way up and challenge your entire body, especially your arms. As a bonus, these are incredibly FUN!
Start tall with feet hip width apart and hands on handles
In one motion, pull the handles down and back as you sit back into athletic position
Finish with hands behind your hips and chest tall
Reset to standing position with hands overhead
Start with :30 of work with :30 of rest for 6-10 rounds
3| Sled March
The sled march is an absolute favorite amongst our members here at Dynamic. They are great for building an incredibly strong lower-body and core.
Sled marches are a fantastic fat shredding cardio tool as they get your heart-rate up and burn some serious calories. Load these up HEAVY! You'll be surprised how much weight you can push!
Keep arms straight and keep a straight line from head to back foot
Keep body leaning at 45 degree angle
March forward one step at a time keeping head and upper body still
Push through your mid-foot
Start with 3-5 rounds of 15-25yd march
4| Sled Sprints
There is no better exercise than sprinting for getting your heart-rate up and burning fat.
Now sprint with a weighted sled. Talk about one of the best exercises!
If new, do not fully sprint
Keep weight light on sled (10-45lbs)
Keep arms straight and body at 45 degree lean
Run sled as fast as you can
Start with 5-10 rounds of 20-25 yard sprints followed by :45-1:00 rest
We've nicknamed the Versaclimbers our "Unicorns" because they are so rare.
These are also a favorite here at DSC.
They are another joint-friendly piece of cardio equipment that are awesome for your legs.
The great thing about the Versaclimber is their versatility!
You can lower the resistance, allowing you to sprint and really get your heart-rate up.
You can also crank the resistance up, making these one heck of a leg workout.
For more of a sprint workout, keep resistance low
For more a of strength workout, keep resistance high
Step into foot pedal straps and grab handles
Alternate pushing down with one foot to get climber moving
Keep motion small and sharp and core tight
Start with :30 of work followed by :30 of rest for 6-10 rounds
6| Wall Ball
Think of wall ball as the reverse med ball slam.
These are a bit tougher as you are forced to use your lower body, core and arms to catch the ball, squat, and get the ball as high as possible.
- Start feet shoulder width apart, medicine ball at chest
- Drop into squat, keeping chest tall
- Use your legs to drive up out of squat
- In one motion, throw ball as high as possible
- Ball should touch wall
- Catch and repeat as fast as possible
- Start with :20 of work followed by :40 of rest for 6-10 rounds
7| Battling Ropes
Battling ropes might be our member's favorite cardio exercises.
They are especially great for anyone with lower-body or back pain as all of the work is done through the arms, shoulders and core.
Not only are they tough but they are a lot of fun!
These are great for getting that heart-rate up and building some great looking arms!
Stay in a low, athletic position throughout
Using just your arms, make quick and even waves with the ropes
Keep the ropes moving together or alternate arms
Start with :15 of work :45 of rest for 6-10 rounds
8| Kettlebell Swings
Kettlebell swings are a staple for many of our members.
The dynamic, fast paced motion makes the swing a great exercise for getting your heart-rate up and burning calories.
Prepare to sweat!
The majority of the work comes from your hips, hamstrings and glutes making the swing a great choice for individuals with bad knees, feet and ankles.
The hamstrings and glutes are two of the most important stabilizers of the knee so strengthening these two muscles is a must for improving knee pain.
Make sure all the work is done through your hips
Keep posture strong and tall throughout
At the top position, finish tall with glutes squeezed and legs straight
Start with 8-10 swings followed by :30-:45 of rest for 6-10 rounds
9| Plyo and Sprinter Reverse Lunges
The plyo reverse lunge is your normal lunge on steroids.
These are tough and really work the strength and endurance of your legs while getting your heart-rate elevated.
The dynamic nature of the movement makes these also great for overall athleticism, coordination and balance.
If new start with the low impact sprinter reverse lunge
Start tall with feet together
Step back with one leg and drop into low lunge position
Do not let front knee travel over front toe
As you come up, drive into ground with front foot
Drive back knee up and hop with front foot
Reset and start again
Start with :20 of work followed by :40 of rest for 6-10 rounds/leg
10| Curved Treadmill (walk, run, or sprint)
One the best equipment investments we have made has been our curved, self-propelled treadmills.
They actually do not have a motor, therefore similar to running on the road, you have to be the one to move the belt.
The difference between our treadmills and traditional running or treadmill running is the curve feature in the front of the treadmill where your foot strikes.
This actually dampens the impact forces, making these much more joint friendly for our members with bad feet, ankles and knees. We have even had people run on our treadmills who have not run in years because of pain.
They are also great for those with elbow or shoulder issues. The low impact allows our members to do one of the world's greatest cardio exercises -- SPRINTING!
Stay tall throughout
Try to stay to front of treadmill
Keep hands on railings if needed
Focus on getting knees up
Start with :15 sprint, jog or fast paced walk followed by :45 walk for 6-10 rounds.
11| Airdyne Sprints
Bike sprints are the ultimate joint-friendly cardio exercise.
They allow our members with aches and pains to train at a very high intensity, while keeping the stress off their injuries.
They are great for bad backs, shoulders and knees.
Sprints are also more fun and burn more calories than traditional low intensity, long duration bike rides. These are tough!
Set seat height of bike so there is a minimal knee bend when pedal is all the way down
Keep bike resistance minimal if on spin bike
Start with a 5 minute warm-up at medium intensity
Complete 6-10 rounds of :15 sprint followed by :45 rest
12| Burpee and Elevated Burpee
The burpee is one of the most popular fat-burning, cardio drills on the planet and rightfully so -- they are tough and tax the entire body.
The tough thing about burpees is that they require a great deal of mobility.
For many, getting down to the floor can be a problem and can cause pain.
For our members who do not have the ability to complete the full burpee, we simply shorten the range-of-motion by having them go off a bench rather than all the way to the floor. Win, win!
If new, start with the elevated burpee
Start tall with feet under hips
Bend from the waist and bring hands to floor
Keeping weight in hands, kick feet back to plank position
Add push-up if possible
Do not let hips sag when kicking legs out
Bring feet back in, stand up, and jump
Start with :15 of work followed by :45 of rest for 6-10 rounds
13| Kettlebell Head-Cutter
The head-cutter might be our favorite total-body cardio and strength exercise.
It taxes your shoulders, legs, and abs, while burning some serious calories and getting your heart-rate sky high.
You will LOVE these!
Start feet shoulder width with KB between feet
Keeping chest tall, push hips back into deadlift position
Drive through heels to lift KB
As the KB comes up, pop it up and catch it at chest level
Drop into squat by sitting back and pushing knees out
As you come out of squat, press KB overheard
Start with 10 reps followed by 1:00 of rest for 6-10 rounds
Looking for a fantastic total-body cardio exercise? Enter the rowing machine.
These are great for burning fat as they work your entire body from your legs to your neck and burn a ton of calories.
Start in seated position with knees bent and arms extended
Initiate movement by pushing through your feet and driving your body back
Finish movement with legs extended and arm handle pulled into chest
Think legs push, arms pull and keep it one smooth motion
Return to starting position by extending arms and bending knees
Start with :30 of rowing followed by :30 of rest for 6-10 rounds
15| Sandbag Clean and Squat
The sandbag is an AWESOME training tool. We can use them to build strength, balance, coordination and overall fitness.
You can do just about every movement with them making them a must have for 2020!
The clean and squat challenges your entire body, helping you burn the most calories and really push your cardio!
Start feet shoulder width with toes pointed out slightly
Rest sandbag just in front of feet and grab handles
Bend knees and drive your chest tall
Push through feet and quickly bring sandbag to shoulders as you drive elbows up
Catch sandbag on shoulders, keep chest proud, and squat
Return to starting position
Start with :20 of work followed by :40 of rest for 4-8 rounds
16| Mountain Climbers and Elevated Mountain Climbers
We love mountain climbers for all of our members but they are especially great for members with bad knees and low backs.
When done correctly, the plank position keeps the low back and spine in a good, neutral position.
By keeping your weight in your hands, stress is not placed on the knees.
But, we're going to kick up the regular mountain climbers a notch and add workout sliders (you can also use furniture movers on carpet or a towel on tile or hardwood).
Now we're really shredding fat and building muscle!
If new to the mountain climber, start with the elevated mountain climber with your hands on bench or table vs. the floor
Maintain a stable upper-body plank position throughout
Keep hands placed directly under shoulders and feet on sliders
Quickly bring one knee forward at a time, while keeping the back leg straight
Start with :15 of work followed by :45 of rest for 6-10 rounds
17| Mace Switch Squat
We love the steel mace at DSC!
Think of it as a kettlebell on a stick. The unique shape and how it's weighted on one side creates a real challenge and keeps your workouts fun.
One of our favorite movements is the switch squat which challenges your cardio, strength, and coordination.
- Start tall with feet shoulder width, and toes pointed slightly out
- Start with mace just under chest level with underhand grip on mace head side, overhand grip on other hand
- Think about pulling the mace into your chest
- Hit a squat then transition to the opposite side
- Start with :15 of work and :45 of rest for 4-5 rounds
18| Kettlebell Wideout Squats
One of our favorite conditioning or cardio exercises is the wideout squat.
The fast pace and high tempo keeps our members heart rates up and burning calories.
If you are new to the wideout squat, start with just your body-weight and incorporate the kettlebell when you're ready!
These are TOUGH and really work your legs and cardio!
Start tall with legs straight and feet together
Keeping your arms straight, grab your kettlebell with an overhand grip
In one motion, quickly widen feet and drop into low squat position
Get as low as possible, keeping heels down and chest tall
Tap your kettlebell to the floor
Finish motion by quickly popping up to starting position
Start with 5 to 8 rounds of :20-:30 of work and :30-:40 of rest
19| Sled Pull + Push
You're going to LOVE these.
Not only do they work your entire body, they are extremely great for improving your cardio, building strength, and shredding fat.
What we love most about them is that they are FUN!
Start in low athletic position with chest tall
Pull the sled in with a "hand over hand" motion
Once the sled comes all the way to you, march it back in to starting position
Rest 1:00 and repeat for 4-6 rounds
20| Sit Throughs
Ready to bring a little break dancing into your workouts?
These are fun and tough. They require body control and strength but the fast paced motion make these one of our cardio favorites.
Start in a bear crawl position with hands under shoulders and knees bent under your hips
Keeping weight in right hand, rotate right leg underneath your body
Straighten right leg and drop butt to floor
You should finish with leg straight with belt buckle and right toe pointed to ceiling
Return to starting position and rotate to other side
Start with :20 of work followed by :40 of rest for 4-8 rounds
Now let's get into your workouts!
Here's how they work:
Chose a level, grab a stopwatch, and have some fun!
Level 1: You've been consistently exercising for the last 3-6+ months
You will complete each exercise for :40 and rest :20 between exercises. Complete 3-4 rounds.
Level 2: You've been sporadically exercising for the past 3-6 months
You will complete each exercise for :30 and rest :30 between exercises. Complete 3-4 rounds.
Level 3: You are new to exercising
You will complete each exercise for :20 and rest :40 between exercises. Complete 3 rounds.
Make sure to complete a 5-10 warm-up before starting your workout.
Workout 1: Med Ball
Exercise 1: Med Ball Slam
Exercise 2: Med Ball Squat to Chest Pass
Exercise 3: Med Ball Wall Ball
Workout 2: Body-Weight
Exercise 1: Burpee
Exercise 2: Sit Through or Mountain Climber
Exercise 3: Plyo Reverse Lunge (one side at a time)
Workout 3: Kettlebell
Exercise 1: Kettlebell Swing
Exercise 2: Kettlebell Head-Cutter
Exercise 3: Kettlebell Wideout Squat
Workout 4: Mix
Exercise 1: Sled March
Exercise 2: Med Ball Slam
Exercise 3: Mace Switch Squat